Meeting Some ActiveRain Friends in Person for the First Time! - My Day at RE Barcamp (Houston)
As soon as I heard that RE Barcamp was coming to Houston, I was looking forward to attending. In case you haven't heard of Barcamp before (which I hadn't), it is essentially a real estate and social media conference.
Actually, I heard it referred to as an "unconference", which is probably a better description.
In essence, the agenda for the day is not set until everyone arrives. If you are attending and you want to lead a session, you can do this.
What did I learn?
First, I learned that Paul Chaney ("The Social Media Handyman") is clearly someone that I need to get to know better. His keynote address started things off with clarity and a terrific perspective. I was tired, but his lively presentation was well done and encompassed much of what makes Web 2.0 and social media so pervasive. If anyone in that room had any doubts about the value of being connected, they probably left with a different opinion. Well done, Paul!
So who else did I see and meet?
One of the big highlights for me was finally getting to meet some of my closest friends on this network, namely Amanda Hall and Lisa Heindel (see photo above). As I explained to some of the others, we are part of a very small clique/group of friends who started around the same time on AR and they are both buddies of mine. It was like meeting friends from college that I hadn't seen in awhile, and we fell into an easy rapport in person. Good stuff!
Rich Jacobson (at left) has also become a good friend over the past year or so, and it was great fun to finally meet him face-to-face. As he and I had discussed in the past, it is pretty much exactly what you expect when you do meet someone who has already become your friend. In this case, a more accurate statement would be that it was sort of like meeting a brother who harrasses you publicly. But seriously, meeting Rich was one of the high points of my day. Blogging enables us to connect on a level that is simply unprecedented.
Brad Andersohn was (not surprisingly) one of the most relentlessly positive people at Barcamp, with a quick wit and an energetic spirit. It was a joy to meet him "live". I envy Brad's gadget and website knowledge, and I need to spend more time learning the really cutting-edge stuff. He is a genuinely nice guy. On a side note, Brad stood on a chair to give me a bear hug when we first met, because I am a human giant, of course. ;)
Jeff Turner is frankly one of the most well-spoken and thoughtful people that I have come across in awhile. I always considered myself to be a good listener, but Jeff has made this into an art form. I was happy that I got a chance to hang out with him for awhile that day, and I look forward to seeing him again. He is a genuinely good guy, and I would highly encourage you to pay attention when he writes and speaks. He is very much on top of what's happening in social media.
At dinner, I made the mistake of sitting between Brad and Jeff for awhile, and I sincerely couldn't keep up with their "tech talk". At one point, I wondered if they were even speaking English, with the number of sites and services that were bandied about between them. ;)
I also got to see my good friend Deb Brooks again (this was the third time we met, since she attended the gathering in Bandera and my birthday party in August). As always, it was great to see her, and I heard about her new venture, www.buywaterfronts.com.
A couple of random thoughts: Wednesday night at dinner, I discovered that Marchel Peterson is outgoing and funny, with an infectious laugh. For some reason, I thought she was shy when we first met back in April. For the record, Greg Nino is far taller than I thought. He and I are just about eye-to-eye, and I am 6'4" or thereabouts. He said that I am taller, but it's probably just my hair. My Twitter and Blip.fm friend Stephanie Edwards-Musa was fun to meet as well. On the other side of the coin from Marchel, I thought that Pippa Mac would be a crazy house of fire for some reason (maybe it's the hot pink in her profile pic), but she was subdued and cool.
I think one of the biggest lessons for me on that day was that I really want to present/teach something next time around, rather than just listening and participating. I am by no means a social media expert yet, but I think I was probably in the top half of the crowd with regard to knowledge. Regardless, the event had value for networking and learning from some VERY sharp people. I only wish that I could have attended every session.
All of the photos are my own, but I stole the first one from Lisa, because hers was better than the one I got. I think I also learned that I tend to stand on the right side of every picture - how weird is that?
Thanks for reading!